Nightfall - Chapter 501

Published at 17th of October 2018 11:55:13 PM

Chapter 501: Shall We Go to Worship Buddha?

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Ning Que did not ask about the Tomes of the Arcane— since the "Ming" Handscroll was in the Academy all this time, the Headmaster could read it as he wished. He was talking about the other Handscrolls. Many years ago, Lotus was invited to the Zhishou Abbey and he was only allowed to read two of them. Ning Que doubted that there was anyone in the world who had a chance to read all seven of them.

Therefore, upon hearing this, he was so shocked. He murmured in his heart. "Teacher, even if you are the greatest man in the world since the relationship between the Academy and the Zhishou Abbey is so bad, how was it possible that the Taoist priests could lend you the seven Tomes of the Arcane?"

The Headmaster knew what he was thinking about, so he said, "I like reading, of course, I was particularly eager to read the Tomes of the Arcane. I would never stop reading just because the taoist priests did not allow it."

Ning Que was shocked by his hidden meaning in his words and he gasped. "Did you break into the Zhishou Abbey to read the books? What was the difference between you and a robber?"

The Headmaster was a little embarrassed and said, "Books are the inheritance of knowledge which should not be hidden in the mountains. It's never wrong to read a book."

The seven Tomes of the Arcane were so supreme in people's minds. However, they were the same as normal books for the Academy, especially for the Headmaster. As long as he wanted to read them, he was able to read them— thinking of this, Ning Que was proud while shocked at the same time.

It was pride to be a Tang man, so was to be a disciple in the Academy. The Youngest Uncle had left a great reputation in the world and his Senior Brothers were able to raise rain and wind when they occasionally showed up. Especially the unfamiliar anecdotes of the Headmaster, all of these formed a special atmosphere, that no matter how restrained you were, you would become proud if you stayed in this atmosphere for a longer time.

Besides, Ning Que was never a bashful person. He sighed and recalled his former question. "What was the message left by the Buddha on the 'Ming' Handscroll?"

The Headmaster replied, "I've told you, as long as you comprehend this book, you would know."

Ning Que remembered that he had read the "Ming" Handscroll. When he thought of the ambiguous words in the book, he faintly realized those were the messages of the Buddha. Although he was so curious, at his present realm, he had no way to figure them out.

Whether in the back of the mountain or the forecourt of the Academy, the students were free to study. Ning Que did not feel ashamed to learn from his teacher, so he said, "Teacher, I don't understand."

The Headmaster sighed and said, "In fact, I don't understand it either."

Ning Que looked at his teacher's fluttering white brows and felt helpless. He thought, "As an unordinary man, there shouldn't be any character you are not able to read."

"When the dharma period reaches the end, the night will come and the moon will surface."

The Headmaster looked at the stars above the cliffs and said, "The first sentence naturally refers to 'Dharma Ending Period' and the night means 'the Underworld Invasion', but what is the moon? Since the Yuelun Kingdom was named after it, it must be round. You had talked about it last year, but who has seen it?"

He turned around and asked Ning Que, "I don't understand because it's a prophecy. I said earlier that if a prophecy would always come true, then what do we live for? Since we can live by our own will, the prophecy may not come true. If it's not fulfilled, it may never happen to our world. Then, how can we understand if it doesn't happen?"

All these musings were quite a mouthful, but Ning Que heard him very clearly and he generally understood his teacher's attitude towards the Ming Handscroll. He thought for a moment and asked, "If the prophecy of the Buddhism Sect doesn't matter, why do I have to go to the Lanke Temple?"

The Headmaster asked, "What is Lanke Temple famous for?"

"It's supposed to be the monks."

Ning Que said in his heart, but he knew that if he answered like this, he would be badly scolded. Then he thought of the rumors before Prince Long Qing entered Chang'an and the key moments during Master Lotus's life, then he asked uncertainly, "Is it a debate?"

He had answered him with enough seriousness and care, but his teacher was still dissatisfied with it.

He said angrily, "You talk and then I talk. That is romance. A group of cultivators talk about everything on paper and can only fool the scholars and Taoist priests. It's all Lotus and the little monk at Lanke Temple's fault since they started this."

Ning Que asked, "Then what is it?"

The Headmaster said, "What was the invitation for? The Lanke Temple is best known for the Yue Laan Hungry Ghost Festival."

Ning Que said indignantly, "What does this have to do with me?"

The Headmaster said, "The Yue Laan Hungry Ghost Festival is a Spirit Festival which had a long history. It came from the legend of the Underworld Invasion, so the most important thing was devil-worshiping. In the beginning, it was a ceremony where people begged for a later arrival of the Underworld. In other words, it was a message for the Underworld to keep away and never come."

He was surprised a lot to be aware that the Yue Laan Hungry Ghost Festival was relevant to the legend of the Underworld.

The Headmaster continued, "It was a festival of Taoism in the beginning, but somehow it turned to a Buddhist festival. Maybe the believers of Haotian were shamed about this. Anyway, as time goes by, most people have forgotten its source."

Ning Que said, "If the Underworld is really going to invade, how can they be sent back so easily. What's more, I believe that if the Underworld exists for real, the people living there won't enjoy eating the joss sticks and candles either."

The Headmaster slapped his leg heavily and said, "That's right. If good words are enough, why do we have to cultivate? Therefore, I kept thinking that perhaps the Buddhism and Taoism held the Yue Laan Hungry Ghost Festival to stop the Underworld by using the Light of Buddha."

Everyone liked to slap legs when getting excited, so did the Headmaster. At this time, he was so excited, but considering his greatest figure, it was not decent, so he slapped Ning Que's leg heavily instead of his own.

Feeling the hot pain from his legs, Ning Que changed his face. Just as he was going to cry out, he was stopped by his teacher's following sentences and forgot the pain at once.

"Suppress... the Underworld... Are you saying that the entrance to the Underworld just happens to be in the Lanke Temple?"

The Headmaster did not notice his expression at all and said, "Flowers could be found in countless temples, not only in Lanke Temple... Besides, I had visited it years ago and found nothing. You can go to have a try, and perhaps you can find your answers."

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The Headmaster said this casually but Ning Que felt thrilled. As soon as he heard the words of "suppress the Underworld", he was uncomfortable from head to foot and got an itch on his skin, as if there was some black smoke coming out from his pores. He knew clearly that the Buddhism Sect was skeptical about him being the Son of Yama. If he went to the festival, he might be suppressed by Buddha Light and trapped under the mountain for 500 years.

The breeze blew softly between the cliffs and the Purple Wisteria was hanging under the rain gallery, dancing with it like bells without sounds. There were only some slaps when ripe fruit fell to the ground and cracked with pulp coming out. The unique rich and fresh fragrance of the Purple Wisteria pervaded everywhere.

Ning Que kept silent for a long time and suddenly asked, "Teacher, what is the Son of Yama?"

The Headmaster looked at the night cloud in front of them and said, "According to the records of the Sutra of Light in the Xuankong Temple and the 'Ming' Handscroll, Yama had 70,000 children. Every time the day and night alternated and the Underworld invaded, a Son of Yama would be sent to portend and guide the night."

"To guide the night?" Ning Que repeated surprisedly.

The Headmaster said, "The arrival of darkness certainly needs guidance, just like the light. I have been thinking for many years whether it is a guide or a projection."

Ning Que lowered his head and did not say anything until late at night. The stars were dim and the night clouds above the cliffs were as black as ink. He could not help asking, "Teacher, if I were the Son of Yama, would you kill me?"

The Headmaster looked at him and laughed. Then he said for granted, "Of course I would."

Ning Que looked up at him and his eyes were full of innocence and pity like a newborn kitten who was delicate because of the starvation and fear of the new world.

"Everyone has a unique life. Even though there are so many people in the world, mine is as unique as theirs. Teacher, you can't be muddle-headed."

The Headmaster stared at him and seriously said, "It will be heroic if you can exchange your life for the entire world. If the day comes, I hope you can kill yourself."

Ning Que certainly did not agree with that, so he said indignantly, "Eldest Brother is a benevolent man and Second Brother is a man of ideals and integrity. But I'm a selfish person and cannot be a Sage. Teacher you are so excessive by saying this."

The Headmaster suddenly laughed happily.

Listening his laugh, Ning Que was helpless.

The Headmaster looked at him and said with approval, "You're very good. Since you are a normal man, you could be yourself. Why do you have to be a saint? Your reasoning is thorough. In my opinion, if you can think right, in the future, you will not do bad things. I'm so gratified, Haha."

The hearty, and even arrogant laugh sounded in the night and then disappeared. Ning Que was still extremely helpless and did not know what he should say to his teacher.

The Headmaster smiled. "The Son of Yama needs to be defined, but it cannot be defined by human beings. It can be only defined by you. For men are only human beings because we believe who we are and only we can definite who we are, not Haotian or other existences."

Ning Que smiled wryly, "You sound reasonable... I'm not flattering, I mean it. However, you are the only one who is qualified to say this."

The Headmaster said, "I did not say this. Your Youngest Uncle did."

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